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Arlan Dantas
That, it, this What is the difference and when i must to use "that", "it" and "this"? E.g.: "I know that." "I know this." "I know it."
Jan 29, 2016 12:27 AM
Answers · 3
In such a context, the difference lies in relative position. In many languages, we find a similar distinction. Basically, "this" refers to something near at hand, while "that" refers to something farther away relatively. "It" is neutral. The difference does not amount to much.
January 29, 2016
"Must" is a strong word! But there are differences of nuance that make one choice perhaps a bit more natural than the others in particular cases. "It" is a personal pronoun. It is used, like "him" or "her", but for things, to refer to something that has already been mentioned. You may know that object, place, or skill. "Do you know the Boeing 747 / Paris / Python / French? Yes, I know it." It is perhaps used more often with "know" in the sense of being familiar with something. In the case of knowing a fact, knowing of something (for which many European languages, yours included as far as I know, have a different word), you have to "point" to that fact. So you need a demonstrative pronoun, such as "this" or "that". The difference between the two is that "this" indicates something closer than "that", but that closeness can be an emotional quality as well as a physical distance. Now, it seems to me I would more naturally use "this" with "know" when it's my idea, and "that" when it's someone else's. (I think that's what Peachey may be getting at, too.) For example: "Did you know that Brian May was guitarist for Queen? Yes, everyone knows that, but did you know this: he's an astrophysicist too?"
January 29, 2016
"...when must I use...?" (Remember the rules for capital letters, question word-order and modals such as "must".) To add to Randy's answer, we can use "this/that" to show our opinion of something. If we feel that something is "close" to us (eg. we like it, we want it, or we must deal with it), then it makes sense to use "this". And so the opposite applies to "that".
January 29, 2016
Arlan Dantas
Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language